Page 713 - Home With a Ranger

16th Feb 2016, 5:00 AM in The Last Roundup
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Home With a Ranger
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 16th Feb 2016, 5:00 AM edit delete
A tabletop adventure automatically comes with certain expectations and contexts that drastically change how we as people would approach a situation. But that's largely the point. It's an escape from the mundane.

Which makes it strange when you somehow end up learning life lessons that apply to the mundane world, regardless.

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



ANW 16th Feb 2016, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
13 things that the DM don't tell their players.
1.Call ahead
I prefer to have everything in check before you come.
So when you're sick and don't check in with me, I'll be planning a 4 person game instead of a 3 person one.
If you tell me ahead of time, I can make up a better session then just at the last second. I can do it, but it wont be as great for your fellow players.(ANW)

2.Try to think creativley, but realistically.
Using part of the enivorment to take out an enemy is cool, and its even cooler when you delay your turn so that the two close combat guys can do something special together. I love handing out extra damage dice for being inventive, but please don't try to jump 10 feet in the air, or bring down a monolithic statue on the enemy by blowing out its legs with... a sword? Not only does it slow the game down, but it drags everyone out of their immersion, ESPECIALLY when you roll a 20 and I feel obliged to let it go through.(Venseyness)

Still looking for 11 more
Feel free to add.
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I've always told my players to call ahead if they can't make a session. Heck, I used to call them to be sure. Wouldn't be fair if we all wait an hour for someone and that someone wasn't planning to show.
ANW 16th Feb 2016, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
I'm still looking for 11 more, anyone care to add?
nathan400 16th Feb 2016, 8:42 AM edit delete reply
3. Be willing to help with physical set pieces
No one will ever have all the bits and pieces needs to best fill out the map, but together we can come close. Example (that came from my last RPG session, as it happens): If the GM needs toy cars for a high speed chase sequence, volunteer your toy cars too fill out the freeway.
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
I've told my players 1 and 2, and the only reason I haven't literally told them 3 is that I mostly GM online - but even there, help is sometimes requested when anything like map combat looms (especially regarding anything on the map of the characters': if we'll be having a scene in some PC's home, it may be up to that player to design said home, at least to give basic blueprints).

But in that vein...

4. Write down everything that can be precalculated that you'll be using a lot.

HP and (where applicable) MP are often derived from other stats, but it's obvious that one should not wait until combat to figure out how many HP and MP you have. Other things are often not as obvious: to-hit and damage rolls with all the usual modifiers, short one-sentence summaries of the mechanics of any grapple or other complex actions your character is likely to do, and so on. Looking up rules and doing complex equations mid-combat is to be avoided, and it often can be with a little forethought.

5. RPGs are a combination of wargame, improv theater, and collaborative storytelling, so be prepared for all three.

Different systems and different games will emphasize different parts of this. For instance, some games have nearly zero wargame element, while some games (which get derided as "roll playing") are practically entirely that with little that would be recognizable as "role playing". If you can't handle or really dislike one aspect - or if you strongly favor one aspect - the GM needs to know when setting up the campaign.
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
@ #4--

I've often said that if a PC takes notes during an adventure, I'll assume that IC they took notes as well and can bypass most memory checks to recall the written info. :3
Delicious Taffy 16th Feb 2016, 10:51 AM edit delete reply
Delicious Taffy
What a coincidence. In our last session, my players ended up doing something similar. The resident detective decided he didn't want the mysterious armored villain to escape on his griffin mount, so he had the group's minotaur hurl him into the sky. After several rolls, he was able to swing around behind the guy, pull him off the bird, and suplex him into the roof from five storeys up. I allowed it mostly because our current campaign primarily runs on the Rule of Cool. In a less ridiculous setting, that never would have flown.
Raxon 16th Feb 2016, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
6. If I am providing food for the game, I will assume you have no dietary restrictions unless you specifically state otherwise.

7. Mi casa no es su casa. Do not leave your stuff all over the floor or sofa. I expect you to stay fully clothed. Removing your coat is fine. Removing your shirt is not. We're here to relax and game, but don't be a total slob in my home.

8. Our game is not a dating service. Do not join the group to hit on that girl or guy. You can flirt after the game.

9. I think it's sweet that you want to share my hobby, but just like you need a girls night out every once in a while, I like to hang out with the guys. If the group wants to be all guys, it will be all guys.
Specter 16th Feb 2016, 1:58 PM edit delete reply
@Raxon about #7

Funny story about that rule, my roommates and I had a DM who would come by every weekend to run our weekly game (who was also the household's friend). One session in particular (during the summer), he decided to run the game while he was wearing nothing but his underwear.

He DMed that way for the entire nine hour session. Even to this day, I consider that one of my better game days.
Guest 16th Feb 2016, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
@ #7, I've been in 2 groups where we had to institute a "all players must have showered in the last 24 hours, 12 if they have a job that requires a great deal of activity" rule. Different players inspired that rule each time. We had one guy threaten to quit over it, but we pointed out that we were playing in a restaurant and didn't want the health inspector closing the place down because of him.
ZhonLord 16th Feb 2016, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
New rule: Metagaming is to be kept at a minimum when in a serious campaign. In a joking around campaign (read: D&D Abridged) that kind of thing is fine up to a point, but part of the fun of the game is seeing what happens when a character DOES do the wrong thing, or DOESN'T figure out what needs to be done. It can create its own surprises and side events that no one expected.
aylatrigger 16th Feb 2016, 7:22 PM edit delete reply

Please. I've had enough of players hugging prismatic walls, killing dragons by getting so drunk they 'cause instant alcohol poisoning' when eaten, going through an entire Deck of Many Things-after being told they got all the good cards first-, deciding their dead bodies would be useful spell components, riding sleeping high level monsters while yelling 'giddy up', mass-murdering your party and then coup de gracing yourself in oneshots, collapsing the universe on yourself...

Even with GMs who are lenient with penalizing deaths, your characters should value their lives.
aylatrigger 16th Feb 2016, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
Oh, and we cannot have a game without conflict. One of my friends hates conflict, but kept insisting he wanted to game... But that meant we couldn't have a boss, no enemies, no !%)# plot...

I need to work with something.

Maybe on more general terms, 'it's the GM's world, deal with it?'
Digo Dragon 17th Feb 2016, 5:48 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I had a player who didn't think the PCs should ever lose a fight. That's like... so anti-climatic.
Stranger 17th Feb 2016, 12:17 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm, things the DMs don't tell their players?

1. Call ahead if you're not going to make it.
2. Try to think creatively, but plasuability helps.

. . .

3. It's an ensemble cast, not a solo career. Other people get the spotlight now and then so that together the party matters as a whole.

4. If you assume everything is a trap or a double-cross, I'm going to start putting them there. Because it'd be a shame not to play up to your expectations.

5. "I waste him with my crossbow!" is funny as many times as Monty Python or Princess Bride quotes. That is, if people at the table get it.

6. If I bring you to the table for the campaign saying it's about X and you begin driving it in Y direction, expect lots of improvisation.

7. Pun-Pun is a thought exercise, not an example character to bring to the table.

8. This game is not flagged for PvP.

9. If you have a cool idea for your character, share it with me before you drop it into a session.

10. You can have a just and merciful DM or a wrathful and pitiless DM. The choice is yours.

11. If you're taking notes, take them well because I'm going to assume that's your "memory" instead of die rolls.

12. You may pass me notes. I will keep it secret what it said. If you pass me notes which are blank or meant just to seem like you did something, I will revoke the privilege.

13. Regicide is not an acceptable goal for your character. Even if it worked on Game of Thrones. Especially if it worked on Game of Thrones.
aylatrigger 17th Feb 2016, 1:53 PM edit delete reply
Also 'accidental' regicide is bad too. Or causing wars.

...Once my party was a circus. Our GM had not planned it, we just decided to all be circus performers and be a travelling circus. ...Well, most of us did, and we kidnapped the few that didn't and forced them to join.

Anyway, we were brought before the king to be sent on a mission (as the GM was trying to save a non-circus plot), and our ringleader gave him one of our penguins as a gift. After we left, the ringleader decided that no, we really needed that penguin. So we snuck back into the castle at night and stole the penguin. Come morning, we were long gone, penguin included. A while later in our travels we heard that the penguin theft had been blamed on a neighboring country, they had declared war over it... By the time we came back from our mission, the country was in ruins.
Cygnia 16th Feb 2016, 5:20 AM edit delete reply
Believe me, I DO tell my players that first one. Still doesn't work...:p
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 5:39 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
One thing I learn from these RPGs is that a lot of my friends are really evil when there are no real-world consequences for their actions. XD

OOC, they can be decent law-abiding folk. IC though? Nothing but murder-hobo tendencies! Murder-hobo for days! XD

But I think a lot of that is just part of the healthy escapism of a good table top game. You're releasing stress on something that is purely for enjoyment and laughs. So as long as one can separate a game from the real world, it's okay (well to a degree. Still gotta work in cooperative fashion with the other players so everyone can enjoy it).
aerion111 16th Feb 2016, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
It seems to be more than that; People seem to act both more rational and more selfish when distanced from the consequences.
You also get more of the extremes, so there ARE still more 'pure-pure' good guys in hypotheticals than in practice.
And then there's the 'The peaceful route doesn't make the numbers go up as fast' - whether it's less loot, less xp, or just literally a lower score.

In some games, the 'peaceful' route is also the 'patient' and 'stealthy' route - so, it's only fun if you're enjoying the game for the challenge it poses, rather than blowing off steam with explosions and decapitations.
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I disagree with the last part. I can have a lot of fun in a short game purely to blow off steam. Back when I had a local group, I used to call such sessions the "Friday Night Firefight"... even though we gamed on Saturdays. ^^;

BUT, the point of a FNF session was to throw a wave of mooks, minions and mayhem at the party and they just bring their A-game combat to mow everything down. Bonus points when I used snack food to represent the targets. Cathartic Collateral for everyone. I sometimes miss those.
aerion111 16th Feb 2016, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
I don't see how that contradicts either of the 'last parts' (the last part of the first paragraph, or the last part of the entire post)
I was trying to explain that, in my experience, players shy away from the peaceful solution because it's slower, less 'exciting', gets you less of a reward, and ultimately is only suited for giving you additional challenge if you enjoy that.
A one-shot minion-wave game for the purpose of blowing of steam isn't exactly an example of someone playing a slow-paced pacifist game.

There's fun pacifist games too, both in RP and in video-game format, but that requires either special players or a special plan from the GM (which in turn might require a special GM) - in video-games, 'game creator(s)' replaces GM.
Ideally both.
EDIT: That actually makes it sound like I'm saying stealth-games are boring. They're not. I love doing the 'stealth+ranged attack' thing in any game where that's not outright broken (*cough*skyrim*cough*) but I'm used just assuming I'm fairly alone in my interests; I AM a furry, after all.
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 12:48 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
I steer toward good characters. I think the worst PC I created was a mercenary who was pretty neutral about anything that wasn't paying her to shoot something.

My last local group was was definitely all chaotic-nuts though.
danime91 16th Feb 2016, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
Funnily enough, it's the opposite for me. In games with any kind of morality system, I inevitably end up playing the Lawful Good character who goes around helping people, turning down rewards, and being all sunshine and rainbows. Can't guarantee anything on subsequent runs, though.
aerion111 16th Feb 2016, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
"I inevitably end up playing the Lawful Good character"
Well, a lot of games actually make that the optimal choice (unique rewards, better benefits down the road, and so on)
But you can be an LG murder-hobo - you just need to be the 'in the name of Justice!' style, who considers killing monsters entirely fine because being a threat to humans is inherently evil.
It's quite different to turn down side-quests because they involve killing something, or to avoid combat to reduce how much 'self defense' you need to do - THAT is something you'd do if you truly wished to limit bloodshed, since there's not much other benefit to it.
Basically, I'm saying I judge people by how far they'll go for their morals when there's NO other incentive.
Mykin 16th Feb 2016, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
@damime91: I'm the same way. Being evil never really sits well with me unless it's more of the cartoonish "take over the world" super-villain variety. Not to say I've always run towards playing as the pinnacle of good (as I have plenty of morally grey characters under my belt). But when given the option, I always lean towards helping the hapless bard getting hooked up for no reward over burning down the orphanage and mindlessly mowing down the goblins we blamed it on.

I also apparently play good guys really well, if the constant pestering by my group to bring back my altruistic cleric is any indication. So there's that.
Evilbob 16th Feb 2016, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
Yeahhhh... I find it tough to play the bad guy as well. Mindless violence disgusts me. On the other hand, I can easily and happily take "righteous anger" to such an extreme that it could easily be construed as an evil act.

For some reason, that's okay with me, lol.
Making my friend upset and profiting off vulnerable populations like orphans? Totally deserve unspeakable acts resulting in painful death.
Imprisoning my friends and me with no context? Don't blame me when the entire city gets burned down along with the prison.
Being at the wrong place at the wrong time such as a neutral party guarding an enemy camp I'm sneaking into? Sorry; I'll say a prayer for your passing.
Raxon 17th Feb 2016, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
I rarely play an evil character. When I am evil, I tend to be so wildly over the top evil that I am genuinely frightening, apparently.

The last time I played an evil character, I had a solo mission. I skinned two men alive and swapped their skins, causing them to die of horribly painful organ rejection. This was the start of a military game gone lovecraftian. I later took a bunch of dead war orphans and mounted motors in their elbkws to make them "crawl" towards the enemy base.

I captured two guys with snares, in sight of their base, and they were dragged screaming into the jungle. I skinned them and filled the skin sacks with live roaches. Then I sewed up the noses, mouths, and eyes.

I dressed a bunch of innocent villagers up and taught them to play paintball. Then I used them to lure out the majority of the base and blow them all up.

It was so horrible that we had to take breaks. They later informed me that I am no longer allowed to have any manner of alcohol when I game, because I default to horror.
Evilbob 20th Feb 2016, 3:23 AM edit delete reply
Interesting. Maybe because I'm not in that game with you or maybe I'm too jaded, but that doesn't sound horrifying... just mental.
Given that I'm also emotionally separated from the circumstances, that probably doesn't help.

Also, did you take special precautions to keep the men alive when you skinned them and swapped their skins? Because they're more likely to die of hypovolemic shock (hemorrhage from skinning) or sepsis (infection from the lack of protective skin- see third&fourth-degree burn victims), before something like organ rejection kicks in. Keep in mind that if all you did was try hydrating them with a non-isotonic solution, they'd still likely die from cardiac arrest or other organ failure related to the sudden infusion of a hypotonic solution (disruption of electrochemical gradients resulting in brain/cardiac failure).

So yeah, unless you took extreme precautions to keep them alive, they'd likely have died from these other causes (minutes to hours) before death from organ rejection (week to months) kicked in.
Luckily for you, these are all relatively slow ways to die, so that you might have successfully swapped their skins before they died soon after.

You happen to have a recording of that session? I think that would be interesting to listen to.
Specter 16th Feb 2016, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, it's not too surprising for people to act differently in a game compared to real life.

Example? There is no way I'm going to go to the desert. Too hot, and dangerous. Not unless I was mutated with a local inhabitant or something.
j-eagle12212012 16th Feb 2016, 8:07 AM edit delete reply
Yeah real life I'm not running off to some far away place to help someone.
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
I might, but only if it was extremely important. Of course, I'd be more likely to do so if I didn't have day-to-day responsibilities and other ties - in other words, if my job and lifestyle was more similar to an adventurer's.
aylatrigger 16th Feb 2016, 7:28 PM edit delete reply
...Yeah, I one time played a oneshot that we were supposed to play as ourselves + one power that we chose. The GM quickly decided we did not have to play exactly like ourselves when I cowered in a corner for the first few minutes because I am afraid of heights and we started on the 5th floor with a lot of windows.
aerion111 16th Feb 2016, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Re-reading the comic, I'm actually not sure whether at least one of the 'Applejack's are meant to refer to the player and not the character.
Which makes me realize; We never, as far as I can remember, got any of their names!
A lot of these 'campaign comics' (though Spud's doing a fairly unique job with this one) reveal the names at the start, and then maybe remember them again at some point before forgetting them.
But they were introduced with their character names, and then never called anything else as far as I can tell.
Kaze Koichi 16th Feb 2016, 9:58 AM edit delete reply
The first one, DM of the Ring, had that format.
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
The first "Applejack" was definitely in character. The second one...from context, it looks like it was in character too (unless the players would OOCly go into the desert).
Pablo360 16th Feb 2016, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Actually, the way I read it, the second one seems OOC, since that's the whole point of the spiel.
Digo Dragon 16th Feb 2016, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon
Soooo many people call me Digo that even *I* occasionally hesitate when asked for my real name. XD
LegendofMoriad 16th Feb 2016, 6:49 PM Real Name edit delete reply
I've been DMing a group of friends, so we're far more likely to refer to each other by real name, rather than character name.
This Saturday, I paused a minute when someone was referred to as John. "We don't have a John." He was referring to a character.
I think only one player consistently uses a character name...
Going to try to crack down on that, next campaign. Wish me luck!
Specter 16th Feb 2016, 2:05 PM edit delete reply
I don't like being called by real name too much, especially when there are about five other people in ear shot who also have the same name (I'm usually one of those five).

It's not that I have anything against my name or anything, I just feel like people would have an easier time going after my weakness if they knew who I was connected to (I'm not being hunted by a mob or anything, I'm just paranoid).
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 3:41 PM edit delete reply
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.
Liz Smythe 17th Feb 2016, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
I headcanon that their names are more normal versions of the pony names. Like Francine or Tara.
aerion111 18th Feb 2016, 1:31 AM edit delete reply
Tara isn't a pony name, it's a VA name :P
Unless I'm missing something, but I can't think of any pony names that are similar to 'Tara', while I know 'Tara Strong' is a VA - I never remember who is who, other than Rebeca (firefox claims it's one C) doing Twilight's singing, and that Rarity+Luna are linked, as well as RD+AJ
Kaze Koichi 16th Feb 2016, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Oh no! Rainbow is alergic to lovey-dovey things! She'll fall ill if that continues! Quick! Save her with extreme badmouthing!
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
Or action! Quick, Fluttershy, summon all your animal friends to group-tackle-hug Dashie!
Specter 16th Feb 2016, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
Or throw a changeling in front of Dash to soak up all of the incoming friendship radiation.

Friendship works like that, right?
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 3:41 PM edit delete reply
Depends. Does the changeling become Dash's best friend, leading her through heartfelt confessions and such intense joy she can not help but tear up over it?
aerion111 16th Feb 2016, 10:51 PM edit delete reply
Dash seems the least likely to make friends with changelings.
Tumblr's got some interesting changeling lore, though, so maybe if the changeling bars started serving cider as well? :P
Blueblade 17th Feb 2016, 7:33 PM edit delete reply
Extreme Badmouthing? got it!
(Deep breath in)
You're a ^\>]>[%\€|€+_+]^~^}€]€€¥\*@&$ With a stick of dynamite$&&$@€|*]!|%]>_£+In a castle far far away where nobody can hear you@&$&@€{*€^{^]>_*€|>|{^Mickey Mouse$@&&€_^[%\<\%^]>|<{^€[>\^]€\>\*]£]>{^>Republicans@&$&&*{>\>]%[,<]%\>\<{%{<|*}*+|€€*Bucket of water>\%]*[*|>}>*]£\^}>}>~€}*]¥]^}>}^*\€]¥_And take a$@&$@$^_*]>{%[€>{#^]€\<%[>and shove it up your$&&$@%]<\#|^{So you'll have$&@$&€{>|^ SIDEWAYS!
(Deep exhale)
Was that good?
What are you all looking at?
Winged Cat 16th Feb 2016, 10:43 AM edit delete reply
@NS: Can you confirm you have received the guest comic strip scripts I sent in on 2/6 and 2/8?

You said you're taking a while to review, but I remember last time there was a problem where you didn't get my scripts, and by the time this was found out it was too late to make the comics. So, just making sure that I don't need to resend the scripts.
Broken Gear 16th Feb 2016, 4:06 PM "the whole point of adventuring party [is] to stick together no matter what" edit delete reply
Oh man, I need to try that one on my sessions with my party.
Let's see... we've got a rogue/assasin so paranoid that it *is* a mental illness at this point and only way he can hold it back is by killing people. We also have his only friend a blood knight/engineer who sticks with him because... yes, a mage who helps them because she's bored and last and least, my character an alcoholic ex-bandit. Truly, a party that would stick together through thick and thin XDDD
Broken Gear 16th Feb 2016, 4:08 PM edit delete reply
Darn, there was supposed to be title to this comment!
"the whole point of an adventuring party [is] to stick together"
Blueblade 17th Feb 2016, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
I know that AJ's squiggly speech bubbles are supposed to represent the fact she is talking through a phone speaker but when I see it I can't help thinking that she's drunk...
Digo Dragon 18th Feb 2016, 4:58 AM edit delete reply
Digo Dragon I can't unsee that.